Keonjhar: A magnificent spectacle tucked in the lap of nature, this Keonjhar village is a picturesque scene worth dreaming for outsiders but for the locals here, life is pain.
Surrounded by Kanjhari Dam from three sides and a river on the other, Khamanagoda is just 13 miles away from the district headquarters of Keonjhar, but basic amenities are still a day-dream for this manmade island village.
Makeshift boats and unsafe canoes are the only hope for 20 families of the village to connect with the outer world. Neither an LWE hit area nor far-flung from mainstream society, this village situated very near to Keonjhar town, still remains cut-off not only in the rainy season but also all the year-round.
Describing their plights in words, Baishakhi Mohanta, one of the locals who stay here said, "Education has turned a dream for our children as they are forced to leave schools due to inaccessibility on all days. Every time they have to wait for boats to reach schools and anganwadis. And without any safe and secure mode of communication, they used to cross rivers under perilous condition."
"We don't get benefits from government schemes and policies. Who cares about other benefits when we cannot reach for the hospital and take pregnant women immediately when needed," rued another villager Minati Nayak.
Locals say that life was not so tough for them always. Though there were no all-weather roads, some 35 years ago, this village was still on the mainland, but the construction of Kanjhari dam has compounded the plight of the dwellers. After the construction of this dam, this village got submerged by artificial water bodies and became out of reach from the landmass.
Satyananda Nayak, another local narrates about the apathy meted out to the village and says, "We have made several requests from politicians to government officials to make a permanent bridge to our village, but all pleas went in vain. The situation has made our lives even more miserable as other nearby villagers also refuse to make marriages in our village."
When asked about this village, Uddhav Chandra Majhi, a local development officer said OTV, "We will send a technical team for surveying possible ways to connect the village to the mainland with a bridge."